Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Leopard's Spots

I was recently in a discussion with someone who could not have been further away from my way of thinking if he tried. Actually, he did try and probably moved another few feet away, but I digress.

My friend was so recalcitrant in his beliefs that we ended up agreeing to disagree. It was then that he said, “You know a leopard can’t change his spots.” I suppose not, I thought.

Then I thought again. He’s not a leopard. He’s a walking, talking, breathing, sentient being that can analyze a situation and make a judgment call. He can weigh different sides of an issue at any given time and determine his stand, which could be different today than it was last week.

My friend probably can’t change the color of his hair (his spots) without chemical assistance, but he can change his thinking. We all can. But, as Einstein said, we cannot continue to think the same thoughts and expect different results.

He believes differently than I do. He believes he’s a product of his genetic background and family history. I think that’s a cop out and excuse for bad behavior, but that’s my judgment of him, not necessarily the truth. I also admit my judgment is heavily colored by the fact that he disagrees with me, which with him I find quite annoying!

When I admitted that fact it caused me to look at my own “spots.” I can’t change anyone’s thinking except my own. Instead of thinking of all the ways I could change his thinking (that would, of course, benefit him immensely, alter his life and make him a more pleasant companion in my mind), I decided to change my opinion about him. He’s perfectly fine the way he is. There’s nothing to change, except my attitude.

Part of that attitude means I don’t pity him when things go wrong for him due to his belief system or buy into his idea that the world is a horrible place where everyone is out to get him. I can empathize without sympathizing. I can also be the friend for him that I want him to be for me.

If you have someone in your life like my friend, be kind to them. Instead of criticizing them for their differences, embrace their individuality, love them and find all the good in them that you can.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


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